Because of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) many women have resigned themselves to the physical and emotional roller coaster that this problem brings. Physical symptoms can include digestive problems, acne, headaches, food cravings, breast tenderness, back aches, cramping, and bloating. Psychological symptoms include depression, anger, irritability, mood swings, and weepiness.
Over the past 2,000 years Chinese medicine has developed remedies for the multiple problems associated with PMS. Prevention and therapy involve the use of herbs and acupuncture combined with lifestyle and nutritional counseling.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are based on the principle of Qi or Chi, life energy that circulates through meridians or channels in the body. When Chi, which normally freely moves throughout the body, begins to stagnate, the person is under physical, emotional, or mental stress.
Since most Westerners are not familiar with this idea of Chi stagnation, it might be helpful to illustrate an example of it. A person’s back and neck muscles tense up when he is under stress. This tends to disrupt nerve stimulation to the legs or arms. Practitioners of Chinese medicine would consider the back or neck of that person to be “stagnant” while they might deem lacking or “deficient” the nervous stimulation in the person’s limbs.
In Chinese medicine, hormonal changes and the amassing of the endometrial lining of the uterus a woman experiences prior to and during her menses are considered natural processes prone to stagnation, especially during stressful times in a woman’s life.
Herbal medicine and acupuncture can free up patterns of stagnation and harmonize the body in order to ameliorate the multiple symptoms of PMS. This leads to the mitigation of the symptoms, relief of stress, and relaxation. PMS symptoms such as bloating, constipation, mood swings, depression, backaches, tenderness of the breasts, and cramps, can all be resolved with acupuncture and herbs. The NIH (National Institute of Health) has actually endorsed acupuncture in Bellmore Pines as a scientifically valid treatment for pre-menstrual pain.
Several medicinal herbs for PMS are phytoestrogenic which is helpful in the alleviation of the symptoms. They can enhance the hormonal functioning of a person. Herbs such as black cohosh, white peony, bupleurum, and vitex are used for Chinese herbal formulas to treat Qi stagnation and balance hormones. Vitex is specifically effective especially for menstrual pain and fibrocystic breasts due to endometriosis and fibroids.
A lot of Asian women have a much easier with PMS thanks to herbs and acupuncture; now, their sisters in the West are beginning to realize the benefits Chinese medicine can offer them.